Monday, April 01, 2013

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF TWO GREAT FILMS



Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the classic Hitchcock film "The Birds" that starred now 83 year old Tipi Hedren and Rod Stewart (whom we all loved in "The Time Machine" I found out that Walt Disney's amazing friend from Kansas City Ub Iwerks created the flying bird sequence that was nominated for an Academy Award for special effects in the 1963 Oscar race. Iwerks of course wasthe man that Mickey Mouse owes all of his development too and who was Walt's partner all those many years ago in Kansas City. Had Iwerks not left Disney to form his own compnay in the 1930's, his heirs would now have owned 20% of the Walt Disney Company. Oh the mistakes we make on the road of life. Hitchcock wanted Grace Kelly to play the female lead, but at that time she was married to Prince Ranier of Monacco and refused any other movie work. Hedren has said that old Hitch was quite possessive of her selecting all of her wardrobe and makeup and even refused to end her exclusive contract with him. Of course, "The Birds" is that all time frightening classic of the old master that I still remember scaring the absolute hell out of me. The budget of the film was by 1963 standards very impressive: 3.6 million dollars. It doubled its cost before the year was up back when movies didn't reach the stratosphere that they do today. It's also the 50th anniversary this year of "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." The one comedy film that was an absolute classic and starred just about every Hollywood comedian they could gather including Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Dick Shawn,, Ethel Merman , plus Sid caesar and good old Jimmy Durante. Even Buster Keaton and the Three Stooges found a role in the classic film. You just coudn't remake classics like these, today! Hitchcock and Stanly Krammer were simply brilliant film makers. Does anybody remember where the massive treasure was hid? It was under the ... drumroll, please.... "The Big "W"-- a landmark in Santa Monica that is still there to this day! The original film was shot in Cinerama. It also starred the absolute amazing Spencer Tracy. Jonathan Winters destruction of that gas station was one of the absolute highlights of the picture!

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